wrestling / TV Reports

Pantoja’s NJPW G1 Climax 31 Night 16 Review

October 14, 2021 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW G1 Climax 31
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Pantoja’s NJPW G1 Climax 31 Night 16 Review  

NJPW G1 Climax 31 Night 16
October 14th, 2021 | Yamagata City Sports Center in Yamagata, Japan | Attendance: 861

We’re down to the final few shows of a pretty mediocre G1. Can it end on a high note?

B Block: Chase Owens [2] vs. Taichi [4]
Like most of Chase’s tournament, this a first time match. Taichi came in with taped ribs and Owens immediately targeted them. At one point, it even looked like Taichi might not continue because his ribs were damaged and commentary discussed him possibly saving stuff for World Tag League since he can’t win this. Watching Taichi try to valiantly fight through the injury was some serious babyface stuff was interesting. He has surprisingly been good in that role over the past two years, plus he’s more likable than half this roster. Even when Taichi got going, you could tell that he just didn’t really have enough and Owens could withstand whatever was thrown at him. Chase reeled off C-Triggers and then delivered a Bobby Eaton Alabama Jam (he had gear that was a tribute to him as well) before winning with the Package Piledriver in 12:05. Some good quality wrestling and there’s nothing wrong with that. [***]

B Block: Hirooki Goto [4] vs. SANADA [6]
It’s like looking into a mirror of the future because SANADA is on his way to being the new Goto. They’ve split four meetings with Goto winning in the G1 28 (***¼) and G1 30 (***), while SANADA won the G1 26 (***) and New Japan Cup 2019 (***¼) matches. Honestly, this kind of match is exactly my issue with a lot of this G1. It was next to impossible to care. They just did stuff like the Paradise Lock and USHIGOROSHI but none of it really clicked. I did like Goto trying to Skull End and SANADA using a favorite Nigel McGuinness move of mine, Tower of London. They went into a series of late counters that made sense on paper but wasn’t nearly as smooth as some other matches. SANADA won this meaningless affair with a clutch pin after 15:32. [**¾]

B Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi [6] vs. YOSHI-HASHI [4]
Tanahashi is 4-0 against HASHI with one coming back in 2013 that I didn’t see. Tanahashi beat him in the G1 27 (**½), 28 (**¾), and 30 (***¼). I love Tanahashi because even when he’s fighting a match that doesn’t matter, he hooks me. As usual, Tanahashi looked at the leg of his opponent, which is typical for him but kind of odd since HASHI had a taped shoulder. You’d think that would be the target. I liked Tanahashi using an Indian Death Lock since I’m so used to the Cloverleaf from him. Of course, YOSHI-HASHI isn’t going to just lie down and he had some pretty good hope spots in his rallies. Tanahashi could just go back to the leg to stop him though, dropkicking him in the knee to set the stage for Slingblades and eventually the High Fly Flow that wrapped this up in 14:13. As usual, HASHI put in the effort and Tanahashi delivered even if this wasn’t some must-see match. [***¼]

B Block: EVIL [12] vs. Jeff Cobb [14]
A win for Cobb would give him the most points ever for a wrestler in a 10-person block (Nakamura, Styles and Okada got to 16 in 2014 when there were 11 in each block). They’ve split two matches, with the one I saw coming in this year’s New Japan Cup (***). If this was 2015 EVIL, this could’ve been a 15 minute banger between two tough, hard hitting dudes. However, it’s unfortunately 2021 EVIL who is consistently lame these days. This was again typical EVIL with Dick Togo getting involved and all sorts of shenanigans. It’s never good. The stuff around the goofiness was strong but there was so much of it that I couldn’t like this. Thankfully, Cobb won after 16:45 with Tour of the Islands, moving to 8-0. I totally think he doesn’t go 9-0, so Okada over him on the final night. [**¼]

B Block: Kazuchika Okada [14] vs. Tama Tonga [4]
Okada enters with a 4-0 record against Tama Tonga. I saw the matches in the G1 26 (**½) and G1 27 (**½). This is not the first time Okada has started 7-0 and that time, he faltered down the stretch. This was traditional Okada formula but in this case, I actually think it was the way to go. Tama Tonga isn’t the guy to take Okada out of his comfort zone or do his own thing and he needs to be guided and led by Okada. It started slowly but picked up around the time that Tama Tonga busted out a Gun Stun on the guardrail. Tama took control after that for a while. He fought off the Money Clip and then they both threw out DDTs, Tombstones, and whatever else they could think of. Then, Tama Tonga hit another Gun Stun and a piledriver to pull off the upset in 24:45. About as good as you can get from these two. [***]

Kota Ibushi 12 (6-2) Jeff Cobb 16 (8-0)
KENTA 12 (6-2) Kazuchika Okada 14 (7-1)
Zack Sabre Jr. 12 (6-2) EVIL 12 (6-2)
Shingo Takagi 12 (6-2) Hiroshi Tanahashi 8 (4-4)
Tomohiro Ishii 10 (5-3) SANADA 8 (4-4)
Toru Yano 8 (4-4) Tama Tonga 6 (3-5)
The Great-O-Khan 8 (4-5) Hirooki Goto 4 (2-6)
Tanga Loa 4 (2-6) Chase Owens 4 (2-6)
Yujiro Takahashi 4 (2-6) Taichi 4 (2-6)
Tetsuya Naito 0 (0-9) YOSHI-HASHI 4 (2-6)
The final score: review Average
The 411
This was basically like everything else in this G1 so far. A fine show. Nothing was outright bad, some stuff was hella stale, and most of it ranged from decent to good. Moving on.

article topics :

G1 Climax 31, NJPW, Kevin Pantoja